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Limb & Spinal Conditions: Major Films   no photo.
TitleAt The End of the Day, The Sue Rodriguez Story (1998)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityLimb amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
GenreTrue Story
DirectorSheldon Larry
CastBabara Gordon Ellen-Ray Hennessy Clarissa Hurley
NotesIt's important to note that this film is set in British Columbia, Canada because the film is about fighting for the right to physician assisted suicide in the Canadian courts. The film begins with Rodriguez's husband moving out and accusing her of being a control freak. At this point one of her hands starts to tingle and twitch. She has an M.R.I. (scan, I think) and is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig's disease). She's told it is incurable and that she has 2 to 4 years to live. She tells her son "It's like chickenpox but doesn't go away." By this time her husband has returned to the family home. She goes to a clinic for people with a.l.s and at least one appears to be a person genuinely with a.l.s. And having seen those in the later stages of a.l.s. she doesn't want to become like them. She wants "a dignified way to die." Though she doesn't want to die now while she is reasonably mobile she does want to die at a time of her choosing. But realises by then she will be incapable of doing the act herself. So she plans to find someone who will help her in this. She contacts someone from The Right to Die Society. He wants to sue the government on her behalf alleging discrimination against physician asisted suicide. On the home front she is soon having to use a wheelchair. A negative note here is that I didn't like the way in which her young son is forced to deal with this. There is no easy way to tell a child that you're dying but the issue does appear to shoved in his face. The film though it has the usual longeurs and lack of pace of so many TV films is watchable because the actor playing the part is so good. Her performance is understated in a way that matches her situation. When her case goes to court she is unsuccessful. A television documentary is made about her. Her husband meanwhile has found someone else. Then the court of appeal turns down her request for physician assisted suicide. By this time she has lost faith in the way the man running The Right to Die Society is taking over her life, using her as a cause, and she severes the association. From that she is looked after by a carer and friend, Svend Robinson, who gives her the drink which kills her. He is not prosecuted.

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